Music For “Watching The Inside World”

Barbed wire

This is the music for the post of the previous chapter. Later I will do the video. This music quickly became my fastest rising music at SounCloud. This is the player at reverbnation where I have my website. You can steam my music there and also subscribe to my music mailing list. I might send as email once a month with new info.

Promotion is extremely time consuming. It’s hard to write music and chapters at the same time but I gradually move it forward more every week.

What Does It Mean To Be Alone – ITFO Chapter

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Standing next to the door of his cell, Jamie leaned his back against the wall. He stared at a cockroach walking across the floor, seemingly without a care in the world. He wondered what its plan was. Where was it going? He read somewhere that roaches had been around since the dinosaurs. The world could blow up from a nuclear bomb and the roaches would be the only living creatures that survived. He used to smash them for having the nerve to walk over his body, but there really was no point in doing that. There were a million more where that one came from.
     He felt the same way about the guards. They were like cockroaches. They crawled out of the cracks in the walls looking for someone to walk on. What was the point of hating one and wanting to get even for the way they  treated the inmates, when there was an endless supply of new guards getting younger and younger every year, replacing the ones who got burnt out and quit.
     Some of them were barely eighteen, right out of school. They got maybe six weeks training trailing older guards around the prison before they were released to do whatever damage they could do on their own. They were put up against men in cells who were two- three times their age who had years of experience dealing asshole guards.
     These young ones thought being a smartass was part of the job. The trouble was, they had a lot to learn. The men here had ways of getting even with guards who disrespect them for no reason.
     One day there was an arrogant, new guard. A tough kid who today was helping bring lunch trays to the cells. Couldn’t be more than nineteen. He thought he would show off and spit on Jamie’s food before putting it through the open slot. He laughed after he did it, with an expression of “eat that, sucker.”
     That was one meal Jamie didn’t eat. It pissed him off. This wasn’t the first time a guard intentionally ruined his meal and it probably wouldn’t be the last, and if this kid was doing the same thing to food trays of other men, he’ll learn his lesson the hard way.
     He’d seen it enough times. The men will collect piss and shit. On a certain day and time they’ll catch this guard in the hall and shower him with the waste they had saved up. Even some women guards got nailed.
     Man, you should hear the screams as all the stink landed on them. They couldn’t get away. Going back or forward, someone was gonna nail ’em. Jamie shook his head and gave a little chuckle at what the men have to do for a little amusement around here.
     The free-for-all stink bombs did make for some heavy duty, eye-watering fumes in the unit, and inmates had to clean up the mess, but how exactly were the guards going to punish men who were already in 24/7 lock-up? They could take away their personal property for awhile, but it was worth it.
     In defense, the kid tried to keep up his shitty attitude on his face to show he didn’t care, but it couldn’t keep the embarrassment from showing through pink skin as each man going down the corridor laughed at him. The young guard also learned that day not be so blatantly stupid.
     Some of the men locked up in here weren’t wound too tight. Maybe they kept them in adseg too long. Some cracked and couldn’t take it anymore. There wasn’t enough mental health people to take care of them. They needed the right meds they weren’t getting.
     You really had to have your shit together to not lose it. Too much isolation was hard, but no one who worked here gave a damn if it was right or wrong. Inmates became punching bags.
     Most everybody got out of here sooner or later but some didn’t leave being able to survive on the outside and ended up coming back from no family or friends to help them.
     Most of the teenage guards the prison hired were hyped up with making steady money but most didn’t make it past a year before they were fed up with the working conditions and quit. More took their place.

Jamie had just finished his breakfast of three small, cold pancakes with a spoon of peanut butter, cold coffee and an apple. It was still dark outside. Another long day stretched ahead of him
    He tried, sometimes to put a schedule together of things to do to fill the day. It was hard to keep to it. He had never developed the discipline to keep to a schedule. Keep it loose, but keep the day going.
     The workout room, where there were weights and equipment was off- limits to him. All he could do was what he could mange in his tiny space, like push ups, sit ups and squats. He had to tire himself out or he laid awake at night.
     The guards constantly woke them up all night anyway, making sure they didn’t escape, which was a joke. It was just another form of torture. If the guards had to be awake and miserable, so did they.
     Two weeks earlier he got his property back. Having all your things taken away really messes with your head. There was so little he could call his own that reminded him that being an inmate here was his only identity. Not having his pictures to look at or old letters to read again made him feel more alone than he was, if that were possible. These things, along with books and magazines made him feel human, and a human being had things, as few as they were. Did the prison want him to feel grateful for getting back these few personal items? It worked. Being able to see his son’s face, Morgan and his family made him feel less lonely, but it also made him feel depressed because he was away from them.
     “Okay,” he said out loud. “Don’t let it suck you in or it won’t let you go all day.” There have been enough days like that and they were miserable, “Get a grip.”
     Shaking it off, he went through the titles of his books, running his hands over the covers. When they take your stuff you don’t always get it back, or what used to work, like a fan, might be replaced with one not working.
     All his books on Islam were there. Guess nobody wanted those, so he tried to do some studying, and his prayers. He needed a way to focus on the positive parts of his life and trying to do these prayers every day would help him learn discipline. Five times a day, though, was hard.
     An hour later, looking through the slots in the wall that passed for a window, he could tell it was morning. He didn’t think the sun was out and it was already hot enough to know he would really be sweating in a couple hours.
     Summer was almost over according to the calendar, and he was glad about that, but Texas in the summer lasted a lot longer than it did in other states. It wouldn’t start cooling down until mid October. These thick walls trapped the heat and turned it into an oven.
      He kept himself busy by doing a little cell cleaning. It would make him feel better. Being moved around to different pods on different floors he found most cells were so filthy you didn’t want to touch anything. The little bars of lye soap the prison gave him each month had to do all of his cleaning including his body, the cell and his clothing. He kept his space as clean as he could. If he had a little money in his account that Sonni sent he could buy a bar of soap but mostly he used it for stamps, hygiene and food.
     It was time for lunch so he didn’t pay much attention to the noises he heard in the hall until they were at his door. He was on his hands and knees, looked up and saw it was the sergeant, with two guards. This man didn’t usually come unless it was something important. Was he in more trouble he didn’t know about? Again, he was trying to keep his nose clean of any problems, but that didn’t mean anything here. Trouble found him easy enough no matter what he did.
     “James Cummings?” The officer asked, glancing around the cell.
     “Yes, sir,” he answered with suspicion in his voice and got to his feet.
Jamie’s eyebrows knit together. Standing up he walked closer to the door, but not too close. This man knew who he was. He didn’t have to ask.
     There was a clipboard in his left hand. He glanced at it and let it hang by his side. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the sweat from his forehead. The sergeant hated – hated coming into the adseg pods of the unit, especially in the summer. They smelled like an open sewer covered up in Lysol, which it was. Jamie could tell this was an official visit of some sort.
     “You’re being transferred.”
     Jamie lit up. “Transferred?” Maybe he’d be moved closer to home.
     “Where to?” He didn’t want to show his excitement.
     “McConnell Unit,” the sergeant answered. “in Beeville.”
     “Contact your family if you want to.” Then he turned away and walked toward the end of the hall with the two guards walking behind him.

Jamie walked over and sat down on his bunk. Putting his elbows on his knees and the palms of his hands together in a picture of prayer, he sat there tapping his fingers against his chin. He had to think. Why were they moving him? He hadn’t ask to be moved. He had thought about putting in for a medical transfer but he hadn’t done anything about it.
     They were moving him clear back across the state, way south, near Brownsville which was near the Mexican border. He would still be too far away for anyone to visit in one day so he’d be in the same boat he was in right now. And it would be just as stinking hot, if not more so. He was sure if he were close enough his family would come to see him regularly, or at least sometimes. They shouldn’t move people so far away from family. It makes it worse for them. Wasn’t locking them up enough punishment? Did they have to keep family away, too?
     He knew about McConnell Unit. He talked to a dude in the day room a while back who used to be there. He had nothing good to say about it, but was there anything good to say about any prison? A lot of inmates died there. He would do as best as always to stay out of trouble if he could.
     Going back across the state would be just as long and boring as it was getting here a few years ago. He was naive back then and thought if he were good he could get out early.  Now he just wanted to get out in one piece. The trip will be several uncomfortable days on the road, but he’d be out of here. He’ll be able to look out the window and see life, sky and birds. Cars on the road passing others who were going places. They probably didn’t understand how precious their life was and how easily it could be taken from you.
     This was another sharp turn to the left. Where would this take him?

 

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ITFO news is a variety of things. Published about once  month unless I get too far behind or traveling and skip a month. I don’t inundate you inbox, I only like to keep you informed on how the writing, music and videos are coming alone. 

I sometimes publish someone’s story that needs telling or other news in the prison industry that I didn’t put at Jamie’s Facebook page. It’s a way to keep you in the loop. You can follow my music and videos at my website. You have a wonderful day.

 

Jamie’s New Merchandise

I am raising much needed funds. For two main reasons. Jamie has some legal expenses that are connected to the lack of medical care he isn’t receiving for epilepsy that has caused him to have more seizures I am using legal means to force the issue. My second reason is the funds needed to keep the ball rolling in producing the book/music I am writing. I want to do a good job. The proceeds from this will help him get his life started when he gets out.

50% of the profit from initial sales will be used for jamie’s personal needs such as stamps, hygiene and items he can get at the commissary.  This is the first time I have for outside help from anyone who can. I survive on a disability check  and trying to take care of these things has become more difficult as expenses have risen.

 

White t- shirt proof

T-shirt – Adult Med

T-Shirt Adult Med

$19.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

Adult XX light weight cotton

$21.95

Tote Bag

Yellow cotton 14″ x17″

$14.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

T-Shirt adult Sm

$19.95

T-Shirt – XL

T-Shirt Adult XL

$19.95

T-Shirt – LG

T-Shirt adult Lg

$19.95

Seize The Day – ITFO Chapter

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SEIZE THE DAY

As Jamie slowly gained consciousness he realized his face was smack against the cement floor and his mouth hurt. Keeping his eyes closed he took an internal counting of his body parts. Anything else broken or bleeding? What the . . 

d      Waking up on the floor was not a good sign.

      He couldn’t move. It took too much effort to try. His body felt as though huge bricks were holding him down. Every muscle felt like it had been run over by a truck, more than once. He’d been through this before – too many times. He knew he’d had a seizure.
     A voice behind him said, “Should we take him to medical?”
     Jamie wanted to shout, “Of course you need to take me to medical,” but his mouth betrayed him and refused to form the words he could hear in his head.
     His blood needed to be checked. Was the right level of seizure medication going through his veins?
     Probably not. He had skipped too many days. What bullshit story would the doctor tell him this time? He usually ended up telling him to file a case if he felt he wasn’t being treated right, but he knows how that goes. It will get lost somehow and won’t get filed. They’ll lie. He wouldn’t know if it was filed or trashed.
     It was this kind of stuff that discouraged anyone from even trying to make them do their job because nothing ever came of it. Free medical care in prison? Not if they can help it. People in the free world didn’t have a clue how they are badly they were treated in here.
     The nurse had a bad habit of skipping over him when it was time to hand out meds. That happened more times than he could count. The medical staff conveniently turned into deaf and dumb mutes when he asked where his meds were. They wanted him to have a seizure, or at the very least didn’t care if he did.
     How do people get like that and turn a blind eye knowing they are hurting someone? He knows he’s not the only one. Surely they didn’t go into the medical field with the intention of hurting people. What happened to them?
     These thoughts went through his head at lightening speed. They were no different from all the other times he questioned if the prison staff was indifferent to whether or not they ended up killing him. After all, how many seizures can a brain handle before it gets fried?
     Jamie ran his tongue over his teeth and found one tooth broken off. It was sharp. The taste of blood was in his mouth so he must have banged his mouth on something when he fell off his bunk. It wouldn’t be the first time, or the last.

<<< >>>

When he’s seizing, he is never conscious of what is happening to him. He learned to roll with it a long time ago because fighting it was useless.
     Seeing someone have a seizure often freaked people out. They didn’t know what to do so they usually stood there and gawked at him with their mouths open. Afterward he usually needed to sleep for a few hours because it knocked him sideways. It often took hours to recuperate.
     Deliberately keeping his seizure meds from him, which didn’t stop them completely, but at least slowed them down, was cruel. How many other inmates suffered because the medical unit jacked with their meds? Probably a lot. It saved the prison a ton of money. He couldn’t see any other reason why they would do it. He didn’t matter to them. He was just a criminal in their eyes, and someone’s back to make money off. They thought he deserved it. He was just a loser in their eyes.
     Watching someone have a seizure would be freaky if you had never seen one. You wouldn’t know what to do. When you see it happening to someone your whole life, like his family did, you don’t feel any sympathy. It’s a fact of life. No big deal. “Jamie’s having a seizure,” someone would call out, then continue doing what they were doing.
     When he was a little kid and felt one coming on he got scared. He’d run down the hall and hide in the closet thinking it wouldn’t find him. Feeling a seizure coming on was like a boogie man chasing him. He hated it.
     Since he was born having a seizure, there was no time in his life when the next one wasn’t there, just waiting to jump him, never knowing when it was going to happen or how bad it was going to be.
     One time, he remembered, he tried to jump up and hold on to his mama, but she didn’t know why so she brushed him off and he fell to the floor.
     Another time he fell down the stairs, onto a glass coffee table and smashed it with his face. He still had the scars to prove it. He hated having seizures. Why him? No one could understand what it was like. What did he do to deserve it? Why did all this bad stuff happen to him? He thought he was a good person yet it kept happening. It was time for something good to happen.

<<< >>>

His mouth was still bleeding a little from where the broken tooth dug into the inside of his cheek. But there was no sharp tooth pain so he didn’t think it hit the nerve. They weren’t going to get him down to medical, anyway.
     “If we take him down to medical do YOU want to do the paperwork?” the other guard asked, “because I sure don’t. It can wait.”
     “Our shift is almost over,” he added. “Leave it for the next guys.” Jamie realized then there were at least two guards in his cell. He hadn’t opened his eyes yet, letting then think he was still passed out.
     “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” the other one said as he shrugged his shoulders. “There’s no reason why someone else couldn’t do the paperwork.
     “No one would know exactly when this went down,” the other one reasoned. “This inmate isn’t going anywhere to talk to anyone.”
     Jamie was fairly conscious by now, but he couldn’t move. He was being restricted, realizing his wrists were cuffed behind his back and his ankles were shackled.
     “What the fuck,” he started muttering as he tried to
sit up. He felt bad and his head was pounding.
     “Watch yer mouth,” the voice behind him said with a threat in his voice.
     “Are ya gonna be still now, or are ya gonna keep kicking,” one guard said, not really wanting to get in the middle of anything that would need explaining.
     Didn’t these dumb asses know he had a seisure, Jamie thought? He wasn’t just kicking because he felt like it. He knew he must’ve been out cold on the floor for awhile, long enough for them to chain him up. Maybe his legs were still twitching so they cuffed him. That happened sometimes with a seizure. But if he had had another seizure cuffed like he was now he could have broken some bones. Then they would have had some explaining to do.
     “My head is killing me,” Jamie said. “I need some water, and I need to go to medical,” he emphasized. When he got no response he spoke a little louder. “I didn’t do anything to deserve these cuffs.”
     He took a couple deep breaths and calmed himself down, “Please, take them off.” They obviously didn’t know what they were doing.
     “Now you’re talkin’ with a little respect,” one of them said and unlocked his wrists and ankles. Without another word both of them left the cell and the door locked behind them. They were going to leave him there without helping him? He wasn’t surprised. Closing his eyes, still laying on the floor, he rested.

Jamie sat up after awhile and rotated his head, stretching his neck muscles to ease the tension. He sat like that for a few minutes before pulling himself together and getting off the floor.
     Damn, he had wet himself. Sometimes he lost control of his bladder when he had a seizure. The guards didn’t notice it and he was glad for that. They would have laughed and make fun of him later – to his face – and would probable tell everyone on this block. So what? He took enough teasing from kids all his life. If the guards were THAT bored it was their damn problem. Dumb ass guards.
     There was nothing clean to change into. He’d have to pull it together, wash his pants and hang them to dry.
     “Now what?” Jamie said to thin air, with his hands raised. He wasn’t expecting any answer to miraculously come to him. What was there to believe in, anyway?      Counting on something up in the universe to see his problem and care about fixing it for him didn’t leave him feeling optimistic. How can you have faith in something you don’t even know is there? If there was something up there who cared about him like the h uBible said, he wouldn’t have let all this shit happen to him. He didn’t see any of his prayers being answered.
     Sonni told him more than once everything happened for a reason. Well, what was the reason then? He couldn’t figure it out. How does he change it? How do things happen for a better reason. Life was slapping him around and he couldn’t control it. There has to be a better way than to just wait for the next bad thing to happen.

Sleep was what he wanted. Then he wouldn’t have to think. Getting up and washing his pants wasn’t something he wanted to do. He had no choice if he didn’t want to stink. What he really wanted was to be anywhere other than where he was.
     Jamie had no idea how long he’d be here before anyone else came. After the shift changed he’d put in a sick call, but he’s wasn’t sure of the time. When did he eat last? Did he miss a meal? He didn’t care about that. He wasn’t hungry, but if he put in a call for medical he didn’t want these same guards coming back.
     Sleep was what he really needed. That wasn’t going to happen until he washed out his clothes, even if it meant later putting them back on wet. He pulled himself up onto his knees and pushed down the waistband of his white pants.
     Jamie rested on the edge of his bunk for a few minutes before taking them the rest of the way off. Standing at his small sink he began washing and rinsing his pants. He did have clean boxers in his locker so at least he wouldn’t be sitting there naked.
     Being inside this box gave him a jaded view of humanity. He saw the worst side of people, how jaded they become when they are allowed to abuse others with no consequences. If he learned nothing else from this experience but this, he knew what kind of person He didn’t want to be.
     Men built this system enslaving their fellow Americans for profit. It was a hideous side of human nature. They made everyone think prison is only a bad place with bad people. Yes, there were bad people in here, that’s the truth, and there were also many who shouldn’t be here or their sentence far outweighed whatever they did.
     Most people have a distorted view of what prison is like by watching TV and movies, but the reality of prison is by far much worse than anything that is shown to the public. If everyone knew the truth maybe someone would be able to change things. The real question is, would people believe the truth? 

 

 

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How You Can Help Me Support Jamie

tote bag with Jamie's picture

I have a preview of what will soon be available for purchase very soon. It will be going out for sale in my next ITFO News. It will also be available for purchase here at the blog as well as the facebook page : jamielifeinprison.

I’m trying to put a stop to the what the prison continually does concerning Jamie’s medical care for epilepsy as well as other medical issues. They withhold his medication for days at a time, which causes a rise in seizures. As I have been rereading all of his letters to me while writing his book I realized it happened more often than I remembered as he wrote about it over the years. This is only one example of the inhumanity he has dealt with. I am going through legal channels giving me medical power of attorney, plus othe paperwork to be filled in Huntsville, Tx at the tdcj. Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

White t- shirt proof

I need to raise money to do this and to try to get him out of adesg while there is still time to get his GED and perhaps other training. Keeping him in adseg means they don’t have to provide any type of education. I am on disability. My money is limited. I’m determined when my book and soundtrack is published I will be able to market it successfully. In the meantime, Paying his yearly medical fee, quarterly food boxes, enough money to buy stamps,  hygiene, and other food items, and send books and magazines stretches my dollars to the breaking point.

These two items are what I am initially selling. A white t- shirt with his silhouette and a tote bag. I hope to add a greater selection of colors. When the book is ready I’ll be adding more items with the book cover on it. I’ll be putting our another post with all the details after I set up a paypal account. You will also have the option of donating to a fund. When he is released he needs to be able to start a life that has been denied him since 10th grade. He has no idea how to take care of day to day living. This is one of the main reasons why a high percentage of inmates return to prison. They get out with a bulls eye on their back unable to live what see call, a “normal” life.

So many of you have been so supportive and encouraging over the years. It always surprised Jamie how many people cared. When I told him about the T-shirt he said he didn’t think there was enough people who would want one. He has no concept of all the messages I get asking how he is.

So think about it. If you can help by purchasing know that it is going to a worthy place. If you haven’t yet – don’t forget to subscribe to ITFO News and keep up with what is happening, not only with Jamie and the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” but other inmates and news as well.

Let me know what you think – and many thanks.

 

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Catch Me If You Think You Can

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I’ve spent a great deal of time searching for the right publishing company to publish my book “Inside The Forbidden Outside”, the life of Jamie Cummings, when it’s finished. I had NO idea the amount of time it would take. If all I had to do was write the story, it would have been done 6 months ago.This  would also not even be a thought on a page were it not for the caring heart that beats inside Jamie; the love he has for his son, the help he has given other inmates, and the desire he has to help reach other people before they end up losing years of their life the way he has lost his.

SELF PUBLISHING  VS  TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

People advised me to find a traditional publisher but it doesn’t take long to realize book publishing went the same way as music publishing since the internet gave people the power to take control of their own carers. As a musician, too much really good talent was overlooked if you didn’t have a connection with a  major record label. During the height of my music career when I was gigging 5-6 nights a week, putting food on the table for my kids, who had the time and money to work the business end, especially if you weren’t in LA or NY? I have stacks of songs written and performed during the 70’s and 80’s, but there was no internet. We passed out cassette tapes. Now musicians can record and promote themselves.

Now, to get a book deal with a major publishing company is nearly impossible unless you are already a proven name. They have lost a lot of money to self publishing. Publishing houses can’t afford to give up front money and you’re going to end up promoting yourself in most cases. They also own your work, can change it however they want and can even change the title.

Then came the internet and the birth of the ebook. Anyone can put out a book on the cheap, edit it themselves, publish a piece of crap, sell 10 copies to friends and call themselves an author. A lot of slick self publishing companies started that put out inferior products and also charge you for things you don’t need – but it sounds good.

I have looked at a lot of the companies and spoken to a lot of slick salesmen. If you have a book and don’t investigate their negative customer reviews it’s your own fault if you end up with a crappy looking book.

What has been harder for me is wanting a book publisher that also prints CDs to go on the inside back cover that will have selections of the beautiful, emotional, improvised piano music I’ve recorded that can also be found on many blog posts. It sets the mood for the book. It is the emotion of the story and they go together. It is unique. How many books do you purchase that has the background music to listen to already there on a music CD? More people are hearing my music than they did when I was gigging.

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BOOK PROMOTION

Now, after a long hiatus, another avenue of sales after it’s published, is to start gigging again. Go back to the piano bars and good restaurants, play music and sell books. Great advertising for the restaurant and good media promotion for myself. Most authors rely on the internet to sell. So will I. All social media and book sites, blogs, facebook, twitter, etc. and develop a mailing list.

I’m putting out the 2nd issue of my newsletter, in about a week, which is more than just about my book. You can  subscribe to the ITFO Newsletter  (Inside The Forbidden Outside) Those people on the list will have the option of getting the book for free and a downloadable version of the music as MP3’s, also for free – for a limited time, when it first comes out. All I ask for is a review, because reviews sell books. Money  buys attorneys.

WHEN WILL IT BE PUBLISHED?

I can not tell a lie. I have 2 chapters yet to write and I’m working on rewrites. No book gets published with rewriting it when a good editor gets their hands on it. I’ve put 1 1/2 years into this so far. There is no way it won’t be finished. It is one of the most satisfying things I’ve done. I need to make a trip to Tx to visit with Jamie, to take his son to visit and to clarify a few pieces of time. I am optimistic when I say at the end of the year for Holiday sales, but I am just guessing.

Those of you who have been with me and supported this blog about Jamie Cummings, you are just the greatest people. None of this would have been possible without you!

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